Restoring natural fire to wilderness: how are we doing?
Document Type: Conference Paper
Author(s): D. J. Parsons; P. B. Landres
Editor(s): T. L. Pruden; L. A. Brennan
Publication Year: 1998

Cataloging Information

  • agriculture
  • ecosystem dynamics
  • education
  • fire hazard reduction
  • fire management
  • fire regimes
  • fire size
  • fire suppression
  • land management
  • national parks
  • prescribed fires (chance ignition)
  • public information
  • statistical analysis
  • US Forest Service
  • wilderness areas
  • wilderness fire management
  • wildlife
  • wildlife refuges
Record Maintained By:
Record Last Modified: June 1, 2018
FRAMES Record Number: 36537
Tall Timbers Record Number: 10921
TTRS Location Status: In-file
TTRS Call Number: Tall Timbers shelf
TTRS Abstract Status: Okay, Fair use, Reproduced by permission

This bibliographic record was either created or modified by the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy and is provided without charge to promote research and education in Fire Ecology. The E.V. Komarek Fire Ecology Database is the intellectual property of the Tall Timbers Research Station and Land Conservancy.


The restoration of natural fire to wilderness ecosystems poses a significant challenge to the federal land management agencies. The U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service and U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service have conducted progressive prescribed natural fire (PNF) programs for more than two decades. The U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management has only recently approved the use of PNF in a few wilderness areas, whereas the U.S. Department of Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service has relied primarily on the use of management-ignited fires to accomplish wilderness objectives. Despite recognition of the role of natural fire, suppression continues to play a dominant role in wilderness fire policy for all four wilderness management agencies. Ways must be found to substantially increase the acreage burned through prescribed fire in wilderness.Unfortunately, differences in program approaches and criteria for reporting the occurrence of prescribed natural fire and management-ignited fire in wilderness units managed by the four agencies make it extremely difficult to fully assess accomplishments of wilderness fire management programs. There is an urgent need to improve reporting as well as develop criteria and standards by which to judge the success of wilderness fire programs. © 1998, Tall Timbers Research, Inc. Abstract reproduced by permission.

Parsons, D. J., and P. B. Landres. 1998. Restoring natural fire to wilderness: how are we doing?, in Pruden, T. L. and Brennan, L. A., Prodeedings 20th Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference: Fire in ecosystem management: shifting the paradigm from suppression to prescription. Boise, ID. Tall Timbers Research, Inc.,Tallahassee, FL. p. 366-373,